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You May Be Surprised to Hear Who an MSNBC Host Is Calling a 'RINO


"They don't understand what it means to be a conservative."

Evan Agostini/AP Images for The Hollywood Reporter

MSNBC "Morning Joe" host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough turned his guns on some of his critics in the Tea Party Tuesday, labeling them as "RINOs" (Republicans in name only), a charge he is often labeled with. His comment came as part of a larger discussion about Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his own conservative bona fides.

Evan Agostini/AP Images for The Hollywood Reporter

"Just look what Chris Christie did standing up to public unions, being hated, being attacked, he stood his ground He's for lower taxes," Scarborough said. He went on to say that he wasn't defending Christie because he's enamored with the man himself but because some in the Tea Party have, he says, been too quick to question Christie's credentials as a Republican.

"Now I can ask the question: Who in the hell can look at Chris Christie and say 'Oh he's just like [Democratic Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid,'" Scarborough said, citing a quote by a Tea Party member in a recent NBC News piece. "Those people can't be reasoned with. They are the RINOs. They don't understand what it means to be a Republican. They don't understand what it means to be a conservative. They don't understand what it's like to win elections. Not national elections. They don't get it."

Since winning reelection last week, Christie has gained renewed national attention as a potential presidential candidate in 2016.

Coincidentally, Scarborough's commentary is largely in sync with a recent blog post by HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher.

"Newsflash, Tea Party: You're the RINOs. You're the break from traditional Republicanism," Maher wrote. "And just like you say gays should have their own separate civil unions but they shouldn't call it marriage, maybe you should have your own separate party but you shouldn't call it Republican. The traditional Republican Party is the host organism. You're the RINO parasite that's latched on and weakened it."


Follow Eddie Scarry (@eScarry) on Twitter.


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